Before her world unravelled at the age of 14, life had already been hard for Jenni*.
Her parents were drug addicts and she grew up surrounded by violence, drugs and alcohol. Jenni never felt safe at home and school wasn’t much better. Being the ‘poor kid’ made her the target of bullies and she struggled to keep up in class.
The day she tragically found her mother’s body, a mere 3 months after her father had died of an overdose, Jenni was left to pick up the pieces. She was 14 with no family and little education or financial support- too young to experience trauma and heartache.
Thankfully she wasn’t alone. Jenni turned to Youth Off The Streets for help because we had been there for her many times before. Jenni was a regular at one of our outreach programs: a safe haven for her when things were bad at home.
“It was my escape and I went there a lot. The youth workers made me feel safe when I couldn’t feel safe in my own home.”
Jenni has experienced more tragedy and hardship than many people would experience in a lifetime. But despite her circumstances, she refuses to let her past define her future. Jenni’s strength and resilience is nothing short of inspirational. She is now finishing year 12 and has a part-time job that helps her live independently.
“The staff helped me to go back to school and find a safe place to live. Today I’m in a much better place. I’m finishing Year 12. I have a part-time job that helps pay the bills and I’m living independently.”
“I now realise my past does not define me. I won’t let anything stop me from what I’m destined to do.”
That transformation is truly remarkable and can only be made possible through the generosity of our supporters.
Jenni is living proof that with the right support and care, kids who have been born into poverty and abuse can break that cycle and turn their lives around.